Oct 15, 2013 · 8:00 AM
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This morning walk-about is designed especially for dog owners, but not exclusively so. Following the road into the park, we will meet at the parking area to the right (before crossing the little bridge). On this first meet-up, we will go across the meadow, past the Camp House and the site of the weekly Farmer’s Market, and then walk the loop around the Azalea Garden. We will return passing the soccer fields, going towards Young’s Pond and Princeton Creek. Depending on how many times we want to walk the Azalea Loop, the walk-about will take approximately 1 hour. Please note: Bryan Park is dog-friendly as long as the animal is on a leash. The fine for non-compliance is $150.00.
For those of you having the time and/or are so inclined, we can walk over to Roy’s afterwards for a bit of breakfast (no pastries there, sorry!). Roy’s Big Burger is a local favorite and appears to have been around forever. They fix your order from scratch while you watch and wait outside.
The park is easily reached by way of I-95, Exit 80. Take a right onto Hermitage Road, cross the overpass, and the park is on your left. You can also take Boulevard (Rt. 161) which turns into Hermitage Road and subsequently into Lakeside Avenue.
In keeping with the spirit of the historical aspect of the James River Hiking Group, here are some facts about the historical significance of the Joseph Bryan Park:
“Before becoming a park, this property was part of the Young family’s Westbrook estate in the 1700s and later Rosewood, home of the Mordecai family. It was a gathering place for participants in Gabriel’s Rebellion in 1800. During the Civil War, Confederate troops camped here. Belle Stewart Bryan purchased this site in 1909 and donated it to the city of Richmond in memory of her husband, Richmond Times publisher Joseph Bryan. The park was designed in the English Naturalistic landscape tradition. It became an auto camp in the 1920s. Federal relief programs in the 1930s resulted in further improvements. In 1952, the city’s Parks Superintendent of Grounds and Structures Robert Harvey developed the 17-acre azalea garden, which became a popular tourist attraction.”
Joseph Bryan Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.